The Road to Security Starts with a Personal Obligation
Whenever we receive phishing or unsolicited mails or are attacked by a malware, we are quick to blame everyone else, including our service provider and site administrators, but ourselves. Is it just their responsibility to ensure we have a safe browsing session? Definitely not! Before blaming them, you must understand that in many cases, it is the unsafe browsing habits of people that make them sitting ducks for hackers.
A connected world
When you click on a malicious mail or open an infected file, not just you, but all the other users in the Internet eco-system become a potential target. In today’s connected world, instances of infected files travelling from one end of the world to another are not unheard of. Individuality is an illusion; a myth. If you think your actions cannot impact others, let us tell you, you’re grossly misinformed.
Most of us still believe that our governments and cyber security firms are primarily responsible for creating a safe online environment. As users, we have been running from our responsibility. The Conficker Worm infection is a prime example of how our reluctance to act can create a ripple effect. Even after almost a decade (the first case of infection was reported in 2008), the Conficker Worm still manages to infect a million systems every year. A security patch against the worm is readily available on the Internet, yet many users avoid downloading it. In many cases, by the time the user realizes their system has been infected, it’s too late.
Being more responsible
Both communities and individuals, over the years, have become more responsible. In many areas of our lives, we have started taking responsibilities. Most of us do not mix drinking and driving, in a bid to reduce their carbon footprint, many communities have come up with plans to phase out old and polluting vehicles, littering trash around is considered a faux pas. We’re doing so many things right, it’s time we also became more vigilant and smart netizens.
You don’t have to be a cybersecurity expert to steer clear of online threats. Following some simple rules such as avoiding suspicious mails, updating your system at regular intervals, and using strong passwords can make a big difference. The next time you are tempted to click on a suspicious file, remember your system is to the Internet eco-system what a body part is to the body. Just like an infected part is a bane for the entire body, one infected system can bring the nightmare of several users to life.
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Iain Enticott | Director at Technology For Accountants
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